The Idaho Press is counting down the top 20 questions facing the Boise State football team during the 2020 season. Today is question No. 8: What roles will quarterbacks Chase Cord and Jack Sears have?
Boise State’s quarterback situation was as complicated as could be last year.
Mysterious, unexplained and even unknown injuries to both starter Hank Bachmeier and backup Chase Cord forced third-stringer Jaylon Henderson into action.
Henderson won four straight starts, including the Mountain West title game, before Bachmeier curiously returned after a seven-week layoff in the Las Vegas Bowl against Washington. The freshman predictably was rusty and struggled and Boise State was blown out by former coach Chris Petersen in his final game.
Bachmeier and Cord both returned for the spring — there was at least a little speculation that one might transfer — which seemed to settle any lingering questions or controversy about the group. The depth chart appeared settled, with Bachmeier as the starter and Cord ready for a package of plays as a dual-threat option similar to what he did prior to getting hurt last year.
But then Boise State went and added former USC quarterback Jack Sears in May, adding all kinds of intrigue back into the group. Why would the Broncos add a grad transfer in Sears when they already have a sophomore starter in Bachmeier and a capable backup in Sears? Why would Sears choose Boise State with a returning starter and another viable option already on the roster? It didn’t make sense at the time, and still doesn’t really.
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said the decision was an easy one for them — they want to add the best players to the roster as possible, and competition is good for everyone. He explained that Sears, who hasn’t talked publicly about his decision, was just looking for a quality program where he could win a lot of games and have a chance to compete for playing time.
But does Sears know something that we don’t? It would seem possible that either Bachmeier or Cord have elected to transfer, which would give Sears more of a chance to play in 2020 — or 2021. Sears is a graduate transfer and eligible immediately this fall, but has two years of eligibility left.
Why Sears would commit to Boise State as maybe the third-stringer when he could have gone somewhere like San Diego State and started this fall is a head-scratcher until the media gets a chance to talk to Sears and get more information on his decision.
If both Bachmeier and Cord return, which seems likely since both are still listed on the roster, Bachmeier would seemingly still have the leg up as the starter while Cord and Sears will battle for No. 2. Coaches previously said Cord would play in certain packages and have a role, but that was before Sears was added.
Given the fact that Bachmeier had two different injuries last season and Cord missed several games as well, it’s likely that Sears will see the field at some point. Will they rotate him in for certain series or plays early in the season? That remains to be seen. But it wouldn’t be crazy to think Sears makes at least one start in 2020 given that both others were injured during 2019.
In short, Cord and Sears likely will battle for the No. 2 spot behind Bachmeier and at least one of the two will probably get some action as a change of pace option in most games as the Broncos have done in recent years. Both probably will get significant playing time and probably start a game or two should the injury bug resurface as it did last year.
There’s worse problems to have than figuring out what to do with three capable quarterbacks. How Boise State handles Cord and Sears will be a key storyline this fall — or whenever the 2020 season happens.